An experience felt, seen, and heard … After a big rainfall the previous night, the river is swift and full. Perhaps, we will get some rain during the trip, which feels exciting, to have water coming from all directions. Most likely we’ll get sunshine and bask in the glow. Whatever weather we are experiencing, we will always provide an immersive experience.
Being on the water, and navigating it in unison with your guide and your friends is something that feels so human, but not in the way that the hustle and bustle of a city might feel human. It feels human in the way that makes us feel like we are a part of it all; like it makes sense to be passing through the water, observing all the plants and catching sneaky glimpses of the other creatures whose home this is.
Turtles will be sun bathing on rocks. Merganzers will be training their ducklings to catch fish to munch. Bald eagles and osprey soar overhead and sit quietly on tree branches. Deer come down to the river side from a cool drink. Many birds chirp in their various languages from the tops of the trees. Sometimes if you’re lucky you get to see a nest. A snake may be enjoying sunbathing on a rock that you float by, the pattern on its body illuminated by the sun. Perhaps you might see an otter frolicking in the water, or a bear strolling along.
The river, and all the life here, is its own realm that if we take care, we may participate in. This sensation of being immersed in this natural realm of our own backyard is only heightened by the humble esotericism of the guides. Not only are you expertly guided through the whitewater, but given opportunities to reflect on the metaphors that come with navigating water, closing our eyes and getting in touch with our ears, and the sound of sloshiness as we float. You’ll be able to imagine a small creek on the waterfall hike, as if it were a massive river, and how it would be rafted or kayaked (the water patterns stay the same, just differ in scale and it can be a very fascinating way to see “the big picture” of reading water).
Lunch is an experience all in of itself. It is set up at the perfect time, and while the food itself is already high quality and delicious, there is something about being out in nature (especially while being active) that just makes food taste so very good. Eating tends to come with relaxing and while these trips are usually planned with excitement for the big rapids, the moments of calm tend to have an impact on people. There are moments of silence while you get to just kind of be and take it all in. There are moments of relaxing on beautiful rocks in the sun knowing there may be a lizard nearby, acting just like you.
Rafting is an experience that feels simultaneously magical and very much real. It’s otherworldly, but it also just is this world. With all the craziness currently in the world, it’s important to get back to the constant of nature, and don’t forget to tip your guide 🙂